Data Doubles; The Good and The Bad

During one week in today’s world of technology, someone can rack up a rather lengthy data double. Though what do I mean by this data double. A data double is where a person can be traced or even watched by what they do an online. It is like leaving an online footprint. These footprints can be taken place and left in many different forms and ways. If you were to look back and trace your steps through your week to which you have left a digital trace, you would be surprised how much of your life is now based online and who difficult it is now to disappear. A one-week ‘snapshot’ of my data double would look something like the following; daily text messages, emails and phone calls, logging into Facebook, credit, debt and gas card purchases, signing into Netflix, 8tracks and YouTube, logging onto the school computers and myKwantlen, logging onto workplace computers and using a personal passcode to enter certain areas at work, taking pictures that have time stamps attached to them, using GPS or other various navigation devices, Google searches, and entering stores or other places that have a surveillance system.

With these data doubles popping up everywhere, it is still surprising that we still manage to have or find a little bit of privacy. It seems as though that the majority of our lives are now recorded on some sort of digital format whether we want it or not. These digital trails do have some importance or can come handy when dealing with a lost person case, theft, robbery, abuse and much more. These digital trails do help and bring awareness to cases where they would normally go unnoticed, either do to because the area is unsupervised or information and incidents can be hidden through bribery and money. Through these digital trails can helpful and important to make aware of incidents such as the one that happened in August when the CEO of the catering company Centerplate Desmond Hague was seen kicking a dog in an elevator in Downtown Vancouver (taken from CTV News). The video can be seen from Global News on their YouTube page (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBU35daKYkw). It is incidents like this that we like to see our surveillance working and it is ending abuse and identifying the person who is doing it. However, lets flip the this idea as to how it is helpful to society to make people known for their crimes. How can all of these data doubles go against a person, what are they effects of being easily traced down.

With all of these trails that we are leaving behind about our lives, it is very easy to figure out where you were and perhaps were you are going. The issue with this is that since our lives are broadcasted over a digital system, it is almost impossible to hide from someone to whom you might be running away from. In order to completely disappear you would have to stop using all sorts of digital data to try to eliminate the possible threats that may come your way. These data doubles that people are leaving make it that much it easier for a unwanted person to find them, whether or not they are hiding from them or if they even know they are being watched.

However, when it comes to a person’s professional life, these data doubles can be crucial as to whether or not they will receive a job or not. The data doubles that usually pause a person’s progress in a certain career path is those found of social media pages and found surveillance tapes. What you post on your Facebook page or on YouTube could have serious repercussions for you later. As many careers paths, for instances careers within the Criminal Justice System, are now searching through peoples Facebook pages and looking at who they are connecting with, what they are doing during their social time, what they are commenting on and how they are commenting and other various reasons that could halt a person’s progress for a certain career path. These agencies are requesting new recruits or candidates to sign waivers for the agency to have the right and privilege to search for information that could ultimately remove them as a candidate as mentioned by Kevin Johnston form USA Today. Yes, one could try to erase and delete some of their traces but unfortunately these data doubles will still up digital until we have found a way to which we use a new system to retrieve information, which makes the old system almost impossible to read, an example of this is finding devices that can still read floppy disk drives.

CEO caught kicking dog in elevator resigns from his job. (2014, September 2). CTV News Vancouver. Retrieved on December 2 from http://bc.ctvnews.ca/ceo-caught-kicking-dog-in-elevator-resigns-from-his-job-1.1987003

Global News. (August 26, 2014). Elevator video shows man abusing dog. [Video file]. Retrieved December 2 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBU35daKYkw

Johnson, Kevin. (December 11, 2010). Police recruits screened for digital dirt on Facebook, etc. USA Today. Retrieved on December 2 from http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/tech/news/2010-11-12-1Afacebookcops12_ST_N.htm

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1 Comment

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One response to “Data Doubles; The Good and The Bad

  1. This is an interesting post.

    I would recommend revising your opening paragraph to engage with Haggerty and Ericson’s discussion of data doubles and surveillant assemblages. Note that a data double is the product of surveillance practices that disassemble and fragment individuals and populations. Some mechanisms target health information, for example, while others focus on consumer preferences. A data double is the fragmented and complex representation of the self that is produced through these processes.